9th ASEAN - WCO Consultation

19 August 2020

At the invitation of Mr. Kyaw Htin, Director General of Myanmar Customs Department and Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Directors-General of Customs meeting
this year, WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, participated in the 9th ASEAN – World Customs Organization (WCO) Consultation held virtually on 19 August 2020. This Consultation, which is held annually in the margins of the meeting of the ASEAN DGs of Customs, was Co-Chaired by Indonesia Customs, who is also the WCO Vice-Chair for the WCO Asia/Pacific region.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Mikuriya expressed his highest gratitude to Customs administrations of the ASEAN countries for their continuous support to WCO activities and for their crucial role in the Asia Pacific region. Secretary General Mikuriya went on to invite the global Customs community to continue supporting the facilitation of not just relief supplies but all licit goods being traded in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also addressed the necessity for Customs community to adopt new norms to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, while highlighting the importance of maintaining global connectivity and enhancing collaboration. 

Dr. Mikuriya provided an insight of the current strategy of the WCO, as well as the ongoing and future developments, including the importance given to regional integration and the security of global supply chains.  He underscored the importance of regional supply chains and its direct correlation with economic growth. While acknowledging that ASEAN is one of the role models of this integration, he advocated for Customs administrations to strengthen their role in the provision of soft infrastructures and by offering key expertise in designing integrations. He added that the WCO has made significant progress in the field of single window and E-Commerce, including the development of the Framework of Standard on cross-border E-Commerce, as well as the addition of new Accredited Experts.

In the light of the current situation, Secretary General Mikuriya sought the cooperation of ASEAN members to organize online capacity building activities.

The Head of ROCB A/P also attended this consultation and shared an overview of the Annual Work Plan 2020/2021 in the Asia Pacific Region. He also presented initiatives to coordinate online workshops and facilitate communication in the region for moving forward even under this challenging situation.

The participants understood the initiatives and measures taken by the WCO, the ROCB A/P and the ASEAN countries to build resilience and strengthen the capacity of Customs administration through capacity building activities. They also agreed that it was important to expand and deepen cooperation between the ASEAN countries and the WCO as well as within the region, particularly during challenging times such as the one affecting the world at this moment.